FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00634

Submission Number:
Kyle Moran
Allwebsales Computers
Outside the United States
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle

Dear Sirs, Glad to see the law taking notice of such a big and growing issue, namely that of DRM. The two places (that I know of) that use DRM are the PC games that I buy (obviously that I did not download, as those would be DRM free) and the music that I buy. Starting with the music that I buy from MSN music and the Apple iTunes online music shop. I normally would be all for something that prevents the illegal use of music, the problem for me with it though is that it prevents me from using it in things it should legally be able to be used for. For example, if I want to use a song I bought and downloaded through iTunes in a video project I am doing for school (thus not for profit and non-commercial use, thus legally allowed according to copyright laws). I cant as the embedded DRM protection blocks the song from being loaded into most video editing softwares. The only way to use it is by first converting it (which removes the DRM without affecting the quality of the song if done correctly) and then finally using it in my video projects. Usually I just dont bother as this is quite time consuming and a lot of unnecessary time for something I actually paid for and should be able to do with what the law permits me to do with it. The second place I encounter DRM, is when I buy a game. DRM is claimed to be a technology used in games (mostly by EA Games) to counter piracy. Though this is all fine and dandy, piracy is bad and should be stopped, DRM does not stop it sadly enough. In fact when someone illegally downloads a game like Mirrors Edge that has DRM when bought in the shop, these illegal downloaders get a superior game as it no longer has DRM and they did not even have to pay for it. Whereas those like me who perfere to buy each and every game they want, are severly punished by DRM for doing so. First of all we have all the technical issues and problems that comes along with DRM (thus for example, programs like Nero which almost every PC comes delivered with often causes DRM to give error messages and stop the game from running). Second of all, if we have a problem with the game and have to reinstall it multiple times, this uses up installs until we finally reach the 5 install limit that all new EA games have. Once this limit is reached it is extremely hard to get more installs from EA games, they do not have a simple system set up for this and often ignore support emails about DRM as they want everyone to just buy a new game once they go over the 5 install limit. Though this is not as big of an issue, it still is one, DRM stops the second hands trade of games, which should be legal. People are allowed to buy a new car and then sell it when they are ready for a new car again (or if they cannot afford a new car they can buy a used car for much cheaper). It is the same way with games, often people will buy a game and then after a year or more (or less, if it does not have multiplayer modes) they will sell it to free up money to buy a new game. Many people also wait until games hit the used games sales market, as they cannot afford to buy each and every game (or even any game) at full price. As you can see I put as organization name, Allwebsales Computers, this is because I sell games in a decently sized PC shop here in Belgium. One thing we often liked to do in this shop is use a game I bought to sell in the store, on one of the PCs as a display for customers to see and even test and try while they are waiting or if they want to test certain computer products. Then after the game was no longer new enough to display, I would take it and sell it off at a great discount as a display used game. Due to DRM I can no longer due this as that would use up one of the customers installs thus only leaving them with 4 installs left. Some companies like Ubisoft have improved upon DRM so that it does not affect consumers as much, but as DRM does not combat piracy at all. It is only a pain on consumers. Yours Sincerly,